Cycling to celebrate 75th year of Independence

Mehak Dua
Indian Army in its endeavor to encourage the spirit of freedom and empowerment and celebrate 75th year of India’s independence has roped in about 70 women cyclists from across India including some from Jammu belonging to cycling group Women Do Ride to participate in first ever Women Cycle Rally from Baramulla to Uri in Kashmir. This is for the first-time women cyclists will be pedaling about 70 Kilometers in serene locations of Baramulla and reach Kaman Aman Setu in Uri. The rally is also aimed at spreading a message of oneness, unity, integrity and women empowerment by making cyclists from across the length and breadth of country to interact with each other during their three-day stay in Kashmir Valley.
Having proved its mettle in cycling expeditions including one from Jammu to Amritsar, this will be Women Do Ride’s second long distant ride and first such ride in Kashmir wherein riders from Srinagar, Jammu, Leh, Chandigarh, Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Gurugram and other parts of the country will be sharing their experiences and getting on board a club that will provide them a common platform despite coming from different regional and cultural backgrounds. In fact, this cycling is going to be a blend of different cultures that would stand witness to India’s integrity displayed at border village in Uri on Sunday, September 12, 2021.
Model and actor Milind Soman and Ankita Kolwar, the fitness icons of the country are the brand ambassadors of the event. Over 70 women cyclists from different parts of the country are participating in this ride. This is the very first time that such an event is happening in Kashmir bringing together pedaling daughters of the country across all age groups, professionals, writers, authors and even students from engineering colleges.
The Indian Army has always fostered the feeling of oneness and leaves no opportunity creating platforms that allow the citizens of the country to come together, and celebrate in unison while understanding each other. Celebrating the 75 Years of Independence of India, Indian Army’s this cycling rally is aimed at proliferating unity, integrity and women empowerment by inviting all enthusiastic and iconoclastic women to pedal along a distance of about 70 Kms from Baramulla to Kaman Aman Setu (Uri) that provides nature’s best views and also depicts tough conditions where Indian army guards our borders.
“When we’re talking about oneness and unity, it’s not a box to check. It is a reality that should be deeply felt and held and valued by all of us. To effectively alleviate prejudices and promote unity and camaraderie, diversity must be celebrated. We are so proud and glad that we are part of the event witnessing such diverse participation with one message of unanimity,” said Payal Jain, Founder Women Do Ride(WDR), first women cycling club of J&K.
Payal added, “Equity and Inclusion will exist when we all will be really independent from everything that keep us divided and its only then we will be driven to create a culture in which all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, physical abilities and socio-economic backgrounds can meet, share, learn and flourish in an accepting environment”.
Kashmir of today is a peaceful and a progressive Kashmir unlike the distorted image which some may carry. To commemorate the 75th Independence Day, what better way could there be than to be able to create an opportunity for the daughters of the country pedaling through the spectacular views to the Uri post, said Payal Jain adding we hope this ride helps us come together for a common purpose to celebrate the accord people of Kashmir share with the rest of the country.
Started with sole aim of giving women an identity, self-confidence and also acknowledge importance of mental health; Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory’s (UT) only and an year-old women cycling club “Women Do Ride” had earlier completed its first 216 Kilometers ride to Amritsar but also left several women inspired to put on their shoes and get going on their journeys that they ever dreamed of, planned about or had thought about doing in their lives. This was really liberating!
Payal Jain, an author and a social activist who was the brain behind this venture or origination said, “Journey of a mile started by a single woman during last year’s lockdown period not only grew up into a club but also inspired many others to realize their dreams and cycle up to Amritsar as its first venture out of J&K UT. In addition, the move not only brought like-minded on a single platform but also enlightened a spirit of patriotism and faith that was more like a Statement”.
For this Uri expedition, Payal Jain trained her group of cyclists in Jammu for almost a fortnight by organizing challenge rides that allowed testing legs to taking in stunning scenery without the hassle of having to plan a route by embarking on small rides to explore Jammu in initial stages and finally prepared the team for Baramulla ride being organized by Indian Army. The group has more plans on cards and intends to open up them all once back from Uri. The proposed rides, she hinted could be three days cycling to union capital and meet icons in coming months.